Tuesday, March 16, 2004

How many of us will behave?

The modern world's myriad technologies at once fascinate our senses and invite abuse. Look at how badly many of us behave with our toys and freedoms when we don't respect them.

Examples of good behavior teach us how to avoid the bad. Consider the German Autobahn. Years ago, men at once struggled and craved to maintain 100-mile-per-hour speeds over long distances. Without breaking a sweat, Germans now drive like this all the time.

A learned respect for the task at hand never leaves our European friends' minds. Germans must undergo rigorous training before they can obtain their driver’s licenses from the state and operate vehicles far superior to early 20th century men’s contraptions.

Technology can have a positive impact on a society when people decide to teach themselves respect. In the case of the Germans, high-speed travel becomes palatable, but their Autobahn exemplifies the possibilities of a notion that applies to just about anything: Promote good behavior by teaching people to respect daunting yet exciting things.